Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Anxiety OC PTSD, Depression, Health Psychology, Personality, Personality Disorders, Personality Disorders, Psychological Disorders, Stress Coping - Health.

Description: As we roll towards November even those of us who are NOT American or living in the United States are anticipating the upcoming election with a wide range of thoughts and emotions. Before he, possibly, moves on we can yet again consider a much-discussed possible aspect of Donald Trump’s personality, specifically narcissism. The trait of narcissism involving intense self-focus and self-aggrandizement and entitlement is considered to be one of the Dark Triad or Tetrad of personality traits (search Dark Triad using the search box on this blog site for several posts talking about these traits) that make some people difficult to deal with. Here is a challenge though. Can you come up with a hypothesis about social situations or times when being somewhat narcissistic might be good for you? Oh, and let me take away the obvious answer in order to challenge you a bit more; yes, politicians likely need to be at least a little bit narcissistic in order to do what they do, particularly during campaigns. Once you have one or two hypotheses in mind read the article linked below to find out what some British Psychologists’ research has to say.

Source: The bright side of narcissism: How the ‘dark’ trait lowers stress and depression, Sharon Kirkey, Health and Wellness, National Post.

Date: October 11, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, how did your hypotheses fare? Had you thought that there might be a relationship between narcissistic tendencies and lower levels of depression and anxiety? Had the possible evolutionary advantages of a little narcissism occurred to you?  It is worth remembering (or realizing if you have not run across this before) that Psychologists maintain a distinction between personality traits and personality disorders. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a problem but drawing on some of the ‘dark’ trait of narcissism could be advantageous, sometimes. The researchers used the phrase ‘sub-clinical’ narcissism to talk about this. It links into the debate leading up to the production of the latest edition (5th) of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders that involved heated debates about whether Personality Disorders should continue to be characterized categorically and standalone disorders or whether a series of dimensions should be used with the idea that combinations of dimensions and extremity cutting scores could be better used to define personality disorders (Search personality disorders on this site to see some posts of this). The idea is that personality disorders reflect extreme locations on personality dimensions along with a lack of flexibility or an inability to get down off those extremes. Being flexible and being able to draw on a broad palate of personality trait dimensions, even a little bit of narcissism, can be adaptive and reflective of resilience.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What does it mean to be narcissistic?
  2. What is the difference between being a narcissist and having a little bit of narcissism and why might one of these actually be good for us sometimes?
  3. How might we shift our thinking and talking about narcissism in order to access the benefits of lower levels or rates of depression and anxiety? Or is that even a good thing to consider?

References (Read Further):

Papageorgiou, Kostas A., et al. “Longitudinal associations between narcissism, mental toughness and school achievement.” Personality and Individual Differences 131 (2018): 105-110. Link

Papageorgiou, K. A., Gianniou, F. M., Wilson, P., Moneta, G. B., Bilello, D., & Clough, P. J. (2019). The bright side of dark: Exploring the positive effect of narcissism on perceived stress through mental toughness. Personality and Individual Differences, 139, 116-124. Link

Papageorgiou, K. A., Denovan, A., & Dagnall, N. (2019). The positive effect of narcissism on depressive symptoms through mental toughness: Narcissism may be a dark trait but it does help with seeing the world less grey. European Psychiatry, 55, 74-79. Link

Papageorgiou, K. A., Wong, B., & Clough, P. J. (2017). Beyond good and evil: Exploring the mediating role of mental toughness on the Dark Triad of personality traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 119, 19-23. Link

De Clercq, B., Hofmans, J., Vergauwe, J., De Fruyt, F., & Sharp, C. (2017). Developmental pathways of childhood dark traits. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 126(7), 843. Link

Smith, M. B., Hill, A. D., Wallace, J. C., Recendes, T., & Judge, T. A. (2018). Upsides to dark and downsides to bright personality: A multidomain review and future research agenda. Journal of Management, 44(1), 191-217. Link

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Depression, General Psychology, Personality, Psychological Disorders, Research Methods, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: As you may or may not have noticed, I (Mike Boyes) have been posting discussions of and links to articles on the Psychology of Covid-19 since March 2020 (search Covid on this site to see the results). Recently we are starting to see posted, peer-reviewed research articles presenting studies that wee conceived, conducted, and completed since the start of the initial Covid lockdowns in March. What sorts of research has been done looking at Psychological reactions to the pandemic? Well, what sorts of studies would you have conducted? Think about that for a moment or two and then go and have a look at the array of 26 article collected together by the editors of the linked Frontiers in Psychology site. There will certainly be one or a few articles you will find interesting.

Source: Coronovirus Disease (Covid-19): Psychological Reactions to the Pandemic — Research Topic, Frontiers in Psychology, edited by Joanna Sokolowska, Peter Ayton, and Eduard Brandstatter.

Date: September 30, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay

Article Link:

So? What sorts of things caught your attention? Individual differences in Covid fear? Factors in risk overgeneralization? Cross cultural factors in mask use? Introverts (or extroverts) and social isolation? Factors influencing rule-respect behaviors? The meaning of living in Covid times? Certainly, lots to pick from and clear evidence of the breadth and social relevance of research in Psychology regarding current issues and challenges. If you did not find anything of interest, search Covid on this site and see if something else I posted on relating to the Psychology of Covid catches your eye.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What stuck out for you in the array of studies on Psychological reactions to the Pandemic?
  2. Were there any studies you read that raised additional questions you would like to see research on?
  3. What areas were you hoping to see research in but did not?

References (Read Further):

Sun, N., Wei, L., Shi, S., Jiao, D., Song, R., Ma, L., … & Liu, S. (2020). A qualitative study on the psychological experience of caregivers of COVID-19 patients. American journal of infection control, 48(6), 592-598. Link

Shechter, A., Diaz, F., Moise, N., Anstey, D. E., Ye, S., Agarwal, S., … & Claassen, J. (2020). Psychological distress, coping behaviors, and preferences for support among New York healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. General hospital psychiatry, 66, 1-8. Link

Chen, S., & Bonanno, G. A. (2020). Psychological adjustment during the global outbreak of COVID-19: A resilience perspective. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 12(S1), S51. Link

Ho, C. S., Chee, C., & Ho, R. (2020). Mental health strategies to combat the psychological impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) beyond paranoia and panic. Ann Acad Med Singapore, 49(3), 1-6. Link

Luchetti, M., Lee, J. H., Aschwanden, D., Sesker, A., Strickhouser, J. E., Terracciano, A., & Sutin, A. R. (2020). The trajectory of loneliness in response to COVID-19. American Psychologist. Link

Cullen, W., Gulati, G., & Kelly, B. D. (2020). Mental health in the Covid-19 pandemic. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 113(5), 311-312. Link

Posted by & filed under Consciousness, Development of the Self, Emerging Adulthood, Health Psychology, Motivation-Emotion, Social Psychology, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing, Student Success, The Self.

Description: Have you read anything about Positive Psychology? It is a relatively new sub-discipline within Psychology that is based on the idea that Psychology can do more that focus in on the ways in which things can go wrong for us in terms of things like mental illness. Research in Positive Psychology looks at what sorts of things contribute to us doing or feeling better, good or even great. Have you heard about Laurie Santos? She is a professor at Yale who conducts research in the Happiness Lab and teaches a course called the Science of Wellbeing that had been taken by more than ¼ of the students at Yale. OK, so enough warm-up questions. What is Self-Care, what does it involve, and if we do a lot of it, are we being selfish? There is no doubt that we need to take care of ourselves these (pandemic) days so how should we be going about it? Read the article linked below to get some thoughts on the matter from Laurie Santos herself.

Source: Laurie Santos Says Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Be Selfish, Hope Reese, The New York Times.

Date: October 7, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Article Link:

Did the suggestions offered make sense? Did the suggestion that showing gratitude or doing nice things for others can be a part of self-care? The growth of focus on personal wellbeing and accomplishment in recent decades has led to a falling of focus on the social connections and interactions that do more than reflect who we are but are, rather parts of who we are. We feel better when our actions make other feel better or when they bolster our connections and relationships. Also, keep RAIN in mind. When you experience negative emotions, recognize them, Accept them, investigate them, and nurture yourself.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of things does Positive Psychology have to suggest about self-care these days??
  2. How might helping others make us feel better?
  3. What are some of the ways we can work at more clearly seeing and building our social/relation selves?

References (Read Further):

Laurie Santos’ Happiness Labs Podcasts Link

Rao, N., & Kemper, K. J. (2017). Online training in specific meditation practices improves gratitude, well-being, self-compassion, and confidence in providing compassionate care among health professionals. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 22(2), 237-241. Link

O’Leary, K., & Dockray, S. (2015). The effects of two novel gratitude and mindfulness interventions on well-being. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 21(4), 243-245. Link

Godfrey, C. M., Harrison, M. B., Lysaght, R., Lamb, M., Graham, I. D., & Oakley, P. (2011). Care of self–care by other–care of other: The meaning of self‐care from research, practice, policy and industry perspectives. International Journal of Evidence‐Based Healthcare, 9(1), 3-24. Link

Bippus, A. M., & Young, S. L. (2005). Owning your emotions: Reactions to expressions of self-versus other-attributed positive and negative emotions. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 33(1), 26-45. Link

Graham, S. M., Huang, J. Y., Clark, M. S., & Helgeson, V. S. (2008). The positives of negative emotions: Willingness to express negative emotions promotes relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(3), 394-406. Link


Posted by & filed under Child Development, Disorders of Childhood, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, The Self.

Description: Have you heard of social referencing? Even very young infants do this. Basically, it involves looking at and reading another person’s face (facial expression) in order to find out what something that is around you means. Imagine a toddler sitting in a stroller beside a park bench that one of their parents is sitting on and positioned so that they can see one another’s faces. Now, imagine that a dog, with a wagging tail, approaches them. They look up and see the dog at the same time and the child has not seen or interacted with a real dog before. What does the toddler do? They look at their parent’s face. If their parent likes dogs and appears relax and smiling at the dog’s approach, then the toddler will likely be interested in the dog and not worried about its approach. If, on the other hand, the parent has a borderline phobia of dogs this will likely show on the parent’s face and be read as “here is something to be fearful of” and the toddler will likely responds accordingly; assuming the toddler has a secure attachment relationship with the parent which means the toddler can trust the facial data). This is just an early example of the volumes of information developing toddlers, children and even adults, acquire by “reading” others in social interactions. Given that, what do you think the developmental impacts of social distancing and mask wearing may have on infants, toddlers and children who are engaged in their foundational social development these days? Once you have a hypothesis or two in mind read the article linked below for an informative collection of psychology researcher comments on this topic.

Source: Will the Pandemic Socially Stunt My Kid? Jessica Grose, Parenting, The New York Times.

Date: September 30, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, it is useful to keep in mind that development in general and social/emotional development in particular is adaptive and flexible. If the lower half of some of the faces preschoolers interact with are covered by masks, then perhaps they will get better at reading eyes and/or body language. It also helps to keep in mind that many of the social engagements that young children participate in are play and, by definition, play is creative and exploratory and as such if previously typical “read” opportunities are unavailable others will most certainly be found and exploited. So, the kids at social play are likely going to be all right (and they may even figure out a few things along the way that their parents could benefit from learning as well)!

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How do developing children typically use the sorts of social information that may be obscured by social distancing and mask wearing?
  2. What are some of the ways in which developing children may be adapting to their new social realities?
  3. What sorts of things should parents of toddlers, young children and older children be doing to support their social and emotional development these days?

References (Read Further):

Korkmaz, B. (2011). Theory of mind and neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. Pediatric research, 69(8), 101-108. Link

Clément, F., & Dukes, D. (2017). Social appraisal and social referencing: Two components of affective social learning. Emotion Review, 9(3), 253-261. Link

Monlux, K., Pelaez, M., & Holth, P. (2019). Joint attention and social referencing in children with autism: a behavior-analytic approach. European Journal of Behavior Analysis, 20(2), 186-203. Link

Duranton, C., Bedossa, T., & Gaunet, F. (2016). When facing an unfamiliar person, pet dogs present social referencing based on their owners’ direction of movement alone. Animal Behaviour, 113, 147-156. Link

Roy, D. (2020). Masks Method and Impact in the Classroom. Creative Education, 11(5), 710-734. Link

Esposito, S., & Principi, N. (2020). Mask-wearing in pediatric age. European Journal of Pediatrics, 179(8), 1341-1342. Link

Posted by & filed under Aggression, Group Processes, Research Methods, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology.

Description: What comes to mind when you think of punishment? Violent criminals? Disobedient children? Now how about revenge? Is revenge essentially defined as punishment for another’s act that harmed you or someone you care about? Or are there situations that may not involve blatant or intentional wrongdoing that may still warrant or lead to a desire to mete out punishment? If you cannot think about examples to use to weight out the comparison no problem, start by reading the first four paragraphs of  the article linked below and then answer the question of whether revenge/deterrence covers most or all of punishment in day-to-day social situations.

Source: The urge to punish is not only about revenge – unfairness can unleash it, too, Paul Deutchman and Katherine McAuliffe, The Conversation.

Date: September 30, 2020

Photo Credit:  Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Article Link:

The design of the research study discussed in the linked article is described in an interesting way using pizza. It is easy to imagine seeing versions of both scenarios in your own experience (well at least one we are allowed to gather together with friends again to share pizza). What it helps us see is that the role of punishment in the revenge/deterrence sort of situation leaves room for punishment to also be a factor in the fairness/leveling sort of situation. I suspect you could also come up with an evolutionary psychology hypothesis for why both facets of the set of punishable scenarios make sense when viewed from the context of living in small mutually dependent social groups. The difficulty that requires serious research design skill to overcome in such Social psychological studies is to how to create situations like the pizza examples without using a lot of pizza. You will have to look at their actual research article to fond out how they did that with money rather than pizza.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. How are revenge, punishment, and deterrence related?
  2. How are unfairness, punishment and leveling related?
  3. Did the design the searchers use make sense to you (would you feel the way they hypothesized their participants would feel in each condition)? If not what would you change?

References (Read Further):

Deutchman, P., Bračič, M., Raihani, N., & McAuliffe, K. (2020). Punishment is strongly motivated by revenge and weakly motivated by inequity aversion. Evolution and Human Behavior. Link

Orth, U. (2004). Does perpetrator punishment satisfy victims’ feelings of revenge?. Aggressive Behavior: Official Journal of the International Society for Research on Aggression, 30(1), 62-70. Link

Bone, J. E., & Raihani, N. J. (2015). Human punishment is motivated by both a desire for revenge and a desire for equality. Evolution and Human Behavior, 36(4), 323-330. Link

Cushman, F., Durwin, A. J., & Lively, C. (2012). Revenge without responsibility? Judgments about collective punishment in baseball. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(5), 1106-1110. Link

Gollwitzer, M., Meder, M., & Schmitt, M. (2011). What gives victims satisfaction when they seek revenge?. European journal of social psychology, 41(3), 364-374. Link

Posted by & filed under Health and Prevention In Aging, Health Psychology, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stress Biopsychosocial Factors Illness, Stress Coping - Health, The Self.

Description: I am going to ask you a question but before I do I need you to put aside a bias you may have and try to be objective. Are you a cat person pr a dog person? If your answer to that question is something like, “they are both nice” or “I am indifferent to both,” then you already set. However, if you have a strong opinion then try (hard) to put it aside for a few moments and then consider what your hypotheses you might consider in order to answer the question that is the title of the article linked below; Are Dogs or Cats Better for Mental Health During a Lockdown? It IS possible to put a cat/dog bias aside as the author of the linked article, Stanley Coren, has done so. He is a significantly accomplished Psychology researcher (see a list of just his books in the References/Further Reading section at the bottom of this post) and most assuredly, a dog person and yet he gives an unbiased account and analysis of a large-scale study on the relative merits of dogs and cats as pets during the pandemic lockdown. So, with your hypotheses in mind and your bias, if any, in check, have a read through Sr. Coren’s article linked below.

Source: Are Dogs or Cats Better for Mental Health During a Lockdown? Stanley Coren, Canine Corner, Psychology Today.

Date: October 2, 2020

Photo Credit:  Gerhard G. from

Article Link:

I suspect you have heard the statement, likely authored by a dog owner, that dogs have owners and cats have servants. Stanley Coren reports on research that shows that dogs are viewed more positively in terms of love and value than cats and that dogs address human loneliness more effectively. In the large study UK study Stanley discusses how there seemed to be only slight differences between how cats and dogs were viewed by their humans except in terms of whether they helped their humans get exercise (dogs, think of walks) and “keep in touch with some people and social media groups” (dogs again, perhaps also partially due to walks). Ok, put your bias back on and consider the potential value in getting, as the UK researchers said, “potential social buffers for psychological distress and loneliness, regardless of species.”

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the psychological benefits of pet ownership?
  2. Bias aside, what are some of the ways that dogs and cats differ in terms of what they do for their human companions, psychologically?
  3. The UK study discussed in the linked article was based on survey data. What sorts of study or studies would we need to do if we wanted to have more causal things to say about the relationship between pet (or dog versus cat) ownership on beneficial psychological effects?

References (Read Further):

Elena Ratschen, Emily Shoesmith, Lion Shahab, Karine Silva, Dimitra Kale,  Paul Toner, Catherine Reeve, Daniel S. Mills, (2020). Human-animal relationships and interactions during the Covid-19 lockdown phase in the UK: Investigating links with mental health and loneliness. PLoS ONE 15(9): e0239397.  Link

Coren, Stanley (2019) Do People Love Their Dogs or Cats More? Link

Coren, Stanley (2019) Are Dogs or Cats Better at Curing Loneliness? Link

Coren, S. (Ed.). (1990). Left-handedness: Behavioral implications and anomalies. Elsevier.

Coren, S. (1993). The left-hander syndrome: The causes and consequences of left-handedness. Vintage.

Coren, S. (1994). The intelligence of dogs: Canine consciousness and capabilities. New York: Free Press.

Coren, S. (1997). Sleep thieves. Simon and Schuster.

Coren, S. (2001). How to speak dog: mastering the art of dog-human communication. Simon and Schuster.

Coren, S. (2005). How dogs think: Understanding the canine mind. Simon and Schuster.

Coren, S. (2006). The intelligence of dogs: A guide to the thoughts, emotions, and inner lives of our canine companions. Simon and Schuster.

Coren, S. (2008). The Modern Dog: A Joyful Exploration of how We Live with Dogs Today. Simon and Schuster.

Coren, S. (2012). Why we love the dogs we do: How to find the dog that matches your personality. Simon and Schuster.

Coren, S., & Girgus, J. (2020). Seeing is deceiving: The psychology of visual illusions. Routledge.

Posted by & filed under Anxiety OC PTSD, Child Development, Depression, Early Social and Emotional development, Families and Peers, Health Psychology, Stress, Stress Coping - Health, Stress: Coping Reducing.

Description: If you have even a passing interest in infant development you have likely previously run across concerns about post-partum depression. If so (or if not) consider this question. What is it about material anxiety and depression that potentially results in negative developmental outcomes for the infants of those mothers? Yes, of course it likely has something to do with sub-optimal levels of maternal engagement or attentiveness but how does that influence infant/child developmental outcomes? Think about that and then read the article linked below for a a look at something you may not have factored into your answer.

Source: Baby’s Heart Rate Reflects Mom’s Mental Health, Robert Preidt, HealthDay News, U.S. News and World Reports.

Date: September 22, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Please Don’t sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

Article Link:

It is most certainly true that a parent who is depressed may not engage with their infant as consistently in ways that will promote their social, emotional, and cognitive development. What you may not have factored in is the stress the infant may experience when their engagement overtures (looking, snuggling, grasping, crying) do not result in more contact. The higher heart rate indicated in the linked article in such parent infant situations could reflect an infant stress reaction. We know a LOT about the negative impact of routinely elevated stress levels in adults and it would be worthwhile to consider their impact on short and linger term infant development. As well, this study links to others that look at pre-natal exposures to maternal stress.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What ways might parental inattention due to depression or anxiety impact the development of young infants?
  2. What sorts of screening steps might be important to consider in relation to this issue?
  3. How might we understand stress in young infants, given the limited nature of their cognitive ability?

References (Read Further):

Haley, D. W., & Stansbury, K. (2003). Infant stress and parent responsiveness: Regulation of physiology and behavior during still‐face and reunion. Child development, 74(5), 1534-1546. Link

Neamah, H. H., Sudfeld, C., McCoy, D. C., Fink, G., Fawzi, W. W., Masanja, H., … & Fawzi, M. C. S. (2018). Intimate partner violence, depression, and child growth and development. Pediatrics, 142(1). Link

Silberman, D. M., Acosta, G. B., & Zubilete, M. A. Z. (2016). Long-term effects of early life stress exposure: Role of epigenetic mechanisms. Pharmacological Research, 109, 64-73. Link

Entringer, S., Buss, C., Swanson, J. M., Cooper, D. M., Wing, D. A., Waffarn, F., & Wadhwa, P. D. (2012). Fetal programming of body composition, obesity, and metabolic function: the role of intrauterine stress and stress biology. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2012. Link

Charil, A., Laplante, D. P., Vaillancourt, C., & King, S. (2010). Prenatal stress and brain development. Brain research reviews, 65(1), 56-79. Link

Kapoor, A., Dunn, E., Kostaki, A., Andrews, M. H., & Matthews, S. G. (2006). Fetal programming of hypothalamo‐pituitary‐adrenal function: prenatal stress and glucocorticoids. The Journal of physiology, 572(1), 31-44. Link

Kinney, D. K., Munir, K. M., Crowley, D. J., & Miller, A. M. (2008). Prenatal stress and risk for autism. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(8), 1519-1532. Link

Glover, V., O’connor, T. G., & O’Donnell, K. (2010). Prenatal stress and the programming of the HPA axis. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35(1), 17-22. Link


Posted by & filed under General Psychology, Group Processes, Intergroup Relations, Social Cognition, Social Perception, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, The Self.

Description: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics, right? But what about pandemic lies? How many lies have you been telling lately, and about what? How common do you think it is these days for people to lie about their health status or symptoms? Why might people be lying more these days than was the case before the pandemic? Once you have sorted out your hypotheses in relation to all these questions have a look at the linked article and see if it addresses any of your proposals.

Source: Are You Lying More in the Pandemic? Some Certainly Are, Derek Bryson Taylor, The Coronavirus Outbreak, The New York Times.

Date: September 11, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, what do you think about the possibility that there are pandemic-related conditions that serve as incentives for people to lie more? It is worth reflecting on something I have posted about previously; that being the number of deeply help social norms and conventions that have been challenged or simply taken off the social table by the circumstances associated with the coronavirus pandemic. This could be contributing to a tendency to lie to keep things “normal” or as they used to be. The line between the first two types of lies in my opening statement above can be a tricky one. Lots to think about.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some reasons that people might be lying more these days?
  2. Is the increase in rates of lying, if true, mainly due to health-related issues or might other issues be involved as well?
  3. How might recent increases in lying be related to changes in the appropriateness of social norms?

References (Read Further):

DePaulo, B. M., Kashy, D. A., Kirkendol, S. E., Wyer, M. M., & Epstein, J. A. (1996). Lying in everyday life. Journal of personality and social psychology, 70(5), 979. Link

O’Connor, A. M., & Evans, A. D. (2020). Dishonesty during a pandemic: The concealment of COVID-19 information. Journal of Health Psychology, 1359105320951603.

Feldman, R. (2009). The liar in your life: The way to truthful relationships. Twelve. Link

Ennis, E., Vrij, A., & Chance, C. (2008). Individual differences and lying in everyday life. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25(1), 105-118. Link

Lewis, M. (2015). The origins of lying and deception in everyday life. American Scientist, 103(2), 128-135. Link

Goldberg, M., Gustafson, A., Maibach, E., van der Linden, S., Ballew, M. T., Bergquist, P., … & Leiserowitz, A. (2020). Social norms motivate COVID-19 preventive behaviors. Link

Lees, J., Cetron, J. S., Vollberg, M. C., Reggev, N., & Cikara, M. (2020). Intentions to comply with COVID-19 preventive behaviors are associated with personal beliefs, independent of perceived social norms. Link

van der Westhuizen, H. M., Kotze, K., Tonkin-Crine, S., Gobat, N., & Greenhalgh, T. (2020). Face coverings for covid-19: from medical intervention to social practice. bmj, 370. Link

Shadmehr, M., & de Mesquita, E. B. (2020). Coordination and Social Distancing: Inertia in the Aggregate Response to COVID-19. University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper, (2020-53). Link


Posted by & filed under Attitude Formation Change, Cultural Variation, General Psychology, Human Development, Social Cognition, Social Psychology, Social Psychology, Stereotype Prejudice Discrimination.

Description: Recent events have intensified attention to issues of racial inequity and racism. In addition to helping people to understand the foundations of how racism is established and carried forward, Psychology can help people see and understand the many ways in which bias and racist assumptions can enter and shape day-to-day social interactions. Have you heard the term microaggression? How would you define it and how would you feel/react if it was suggested that you had just engaged in a microaggression? Before you read the article linked below that discusses the history of the term and recent research into how microaggressions play out at the individual level think about this; what might it mean that we can see racism in or behind the social actions and statements of people who deny that they are racist and who believe they are not lying? What might your answer to that question suggest about the psychology of racism?

Source: Microaggressions aren’t just innocent blunders – new research links them with racial bias, Jonathan Kanter, The Conversation.

Date: September 24, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

Like implicit racial bias, research on microaggressions maps out connections between individual social behavior and racist assumptions, biases, and even consciously held racial prejudices. Social Psychological theory and research details how our social behaviors are shaped not just by our personal social experience histories but also by our indirect social experiences which may have included aspects of systemic racism. If we assume that individuals are consciously aware of and mean every single thing they say then microaggressions are “tells” that can be used to “out” racist individuals. While they CAN work that way, they can also point out ways or areas where the patterns of individuals’ experiences have led them to hold biases or assumptions that are basically racist. Recent pushes, for example, to significantly increase the existence and breadth of exposure to the history of Indigenous experiences with residential schools, cross racial adoptions, and transgenerational trauma at all levels within the educational system are ways of changing the raw social materials that people draw upon when building the social-cognitive structures that will shape their expectations, biases and assumptions. Understanding the connections between systematically racist socio-political histories, individual assumptions and biases and microaggressions help everyone to see more clearly how they can move themselves and help other move towards racial equality and simple acceptance of diversity.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What sorts of social behaviors or statements might be called microaggressions?
  2. How might it be that someone who engages in a microaggression might strongly believe they are not racist?
  3. How might we understand the relationship between systemic racism and individual social behavior and what are the implications of that relationship for working to eliminate racism and increase basic acceptance of and respect for racial diversity?

References (Read Further):

Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A., Nadal, K. L., & Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life: implications for clinical practice. American psychologist, 62(4), 271. Link

Lui, P. P., & Quezada, L. (2019). Associations between microaggression and adjustment outcomes: A meta-analytic and narrative review. Psychological bulletin, 145(1), 45. Link

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Clark, D. A., Kleiman, S., Spanierman, L. B., Isaac, P., & Poolokasingham, G. (2014). “Do you live in a teepee?” Aboriginal students’ experiences with racial microaggressions in Canada. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 7(2), 112. Link

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Posted by & filed under Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, Consciousness, mental illness, Neuroscience, Physiology, Psychological Disorders, Somatic Symptoms Dissociative Disorders.

Description: What does dissociation involve?  At its “simplest” level, it an involve a sort of out of body experience sometimes described as being out of the pilot chair of your body or consciousness and watching things happening to you from a third-party perspective. More complex forms of dissociation include amnesia (often related to trauma), identity confusion, or even multiple personality (now called dissociative) disorder. When I discuss dissociation in class I usually say something about how, unlike other disorders where we are starting to have some sort of idea about how many disorder symptoms are mapped within the brain, we do not know how dissociations are neutrally mapped and that this also reflects our lack of knowledge about how things like self-sense and consciousness are mapped within the brain. Well, I may well have to stop saying that sort of thing going forward. Have a read through the linked article to see some fascinating research discussed on where and how dissociation might be mapped in the brain AND what a mouse model of dissociation might involve.

Source: Brain circuitry underlying dissociative experiences, ScienceDaily.

Date: September 16, 2020

Photo Credit:  Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Article Link:

So, a 3 hertz neural response pattern in the postmedial cortex of a human or some lab mice seems to produce dissociation reported by the human participant and observed in the mice. This is a wonderful example pf the potential power in case study approaches as the opportunity to study an individual who regularly reported experiencing dissociation as part of their pre-seizure aura made it possible to the researchers to observe the particular pattern of firing within the individual’s postmedial cortex that correlated closely with their experience of dissociation. Further they were able to reproduce the firing pattern in the individual (without producing a seizure) with a resulting dissociative experience. This is a starting place that could open up opportunities to more closely study and perhaps to treat dissociation associated with PTSD, amnesia and other disorders as well as providing a possible toe-hold for research into how consciousness and self-awareness are mapped within the brain.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What is dissociation?
  2. How might dissociation be related to consciousness and self-awareness?
  3. What are some of the potential investigative and treatment applications of the findings of this study on the brain location associated with dissociation?

References (Read Further):

Vesuna, S., Kauvar, I.V., Richman, E. et al. (2020) Deep posteromedial cortical rhythm in dissociation. Nature, Link

Herrington, T. M., Cheng, J. J., & Eskandar, E. N. (2016). Mechanisms of deep brain stimulation. Journal of neurophysiology, 115(1), 19-38. Link

Loewenstein, R. J. (2018). Dissociation debates: everything you know is wrong. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience, 20(3), 229. Link

Lyssenko, L., Schmahl, C., Bockhacker, L., Vonderlin, R., Bohus, M., & Kleindienst, N. (2018). Dissociation in psychiatric disorders: a meta-analysis of studies using the dissociative experiences scale. American Journal of Psychiatry, 175(1), 37-46. Link

Krause-Utz, A., Frost, R., Winter, D., & Elzinga, B. M. (2017). Dissociation and alterations in brain function and structure: implications for borderline personality disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 19(1), 6. Link

Schäflein, E., Sattel, H., Schmidt, U., & Sack, M. (2018). The enemy in the mirror: self-perception-induced stress results in dissociation of psychological and physiological responses in patients with dissociative disorder. European journal of psychotraumatology, 9(sup3), 1472991. Link

Boyd, J. E., Lanius, R. A., & McKinnon, M. C. (2018). Mindfulness-based treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder: a review of the treatment literature and neurobiological evidence. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. Link